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Monday Photo Meditation: The Road Awaits


One week into the new year, when this new world should hold so much promise . . . and instead the world seems in limbo. It seems as though we are all waiting, waiting.

For what?

In today’s climate, literal and metaphorical both, that’s the point: We don’t know, mostly can’t tell, what lies ahead. Is this a year to look forward with optimism? Or with dread? Are we entering a brave new world with the capacity for good, or are we walking inexorably into the storm?

For that matter, is the storm to be feared . . . or to be welcomed?

Here, at the moment, the last question has only one answer: In this driest winter in memory, we would not only welcome the storm, we would race headlong into it if we could. We may get the chance, on a small scale, by late tomorrow; snow is forecast for tomorrow night and Wednesday, and the weather pundits predict inches.

But we have heard that song before, and recently, too. And we have had no more than a couple of fast-melting inches all season.

For now, the weather shows signs of impending change, also no newer to us this season than the endless failed forecasts. Still, we hope. We must: The road in the image above, at our boundary, is dust, just like the land around it. And if ever there were a year that we need a healthy ground beneath our feet, it is this one, because a storm of a much deadlier sort is not only brewing, it’s here.

Many storms, in actuality, and they show no sign of leaving.

I have always loved this image. That should surprise no one; I am a child of the storm, and I am never happier than when the wind brings the thunder and lightning, the rain or the snow. I love snow on the ground, towering clouds in the sky, the electrical snap of the air, the simultaneously quiet serenity and deep sense of foreboding that heralds the storm’s imminent arrival.

But the foreboding now is of a different sort, one that cuts deep into the soul and troubles the mind with questions of survival. Our peoples have lived under a permanent state of existential threat for more than half a millennium, and this is nothing new to us, but the spirits of extermination roam freely and openly now in a way they have not in recent years. In a world newly at risk for conflagration, it seems odd that the forces that drive it should feel so cold. In my own people’s way, perhaps that is not such a surprise; after all, nothing is colder than that being who embodies, above all else, the spirit of greed taken to the very depths of depravity.

Evil is not consigned to the flames, but to the ice.

For now, though, if we are to survive — if the world as we know it is to survive — we must do more than prepare for the storm, more than welcome it. It is a time to ride into the storm, to harness it, to turn its power toward harmony.

The road awaits, and the storm with it.

~ Aji







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